Three want the job
So, who will be the newest member of the Blue Earth City Council?
That decision may or may not be made on Monday night, Feb. 4, at the regular council meeting.
At the first meeting of the year in January, the council voted to declare the council seat held by Rick Scholtes to be vacant.
That’s because Scholtes had been sworn in as Blue Earth’s new mayor just minutes earlier.
Once the council voted on Jan. 7 that the seat was vacant, the clock started ticking.
“The City Charter was recently changed and now calls for the council to fill any open spots on the City Council within 60 days after it is declared vacant,” says City Administrator Kathy Bailey.
She adds that the new rule was put in place after the council waited for many months to fill Scholtes’ council seat two years ago.
At that time, he had moved from one ward to another and had to resign his position after the change in his residence location.
Filling Scholtes’ place on the council will be a little different this time around.
“Last time it had to be someone from that same ward,” Bailey says. “This time, since the vote passed to make all council members at-large, his replacement can come from anywhere in the city.”
And, that is exactly what has happened.
Three persons have made application to the city to be appointed to Scholtes’ vacant seat. And, all three come from residences in different former ward districts in the city.
First to apply was Ron Fox who lives on Sailor Street in Ward 3. He has lived in Blue Earth for 46 years and works in sales.
Applicant No. 2 is Chelsea Haase, who has twice before run for the City Council in the past. She lives on East Second Street in Ward 1. She is a student/substitute teacher and has lived in Blue Earth for seven years.
The third person to apply is Darrin Germann, a 41-year resident of Blue Earth who lives on South Galbraith, part of Ward 2. Germann works as a housekeeping/facilities manager at United Hospital District.
Applications for the open seat, which was advertised in the Faribault County Register, were due in to City Hall by 5 p.m. on Wednesday of last week.
Bailey says the deadline was in order for the staff to have time to get the applicants’ information into the packet that goes out to all the current City Council members.
The council will then have time to go over the 10-question, two-page application forms before Monday’s meeting.
Each candidate will be interviewed by the full council during the work session on Monday afternoon at 4:30 p.m.
“We can fit three into the half hour scheduled for the work session,” says Bailey. “If we would have had more than three, we might have had to start earlier.”
The interviews, work session and regular council meeting that follows are all scheduled to be held at the Public Safety Building (police and fire hall) instead of City Hall. This is due to the fact that the council will be holding a public hearing on all of this summer’s street projects (except for Highway 169) at 5:05 p.m., as part of the regular meeting.
Also at the regular meeting, the council is set to discuss the candidates for the open seat, and possibly make a decision as to who they will appoint.
“I have a resolution prepared in case they appoint someone,” Bailey says. “It is sort of ‘fill-in-the-blanks.’ But, they may not decide at Monday’s meeting.”
Bailey says the council could decide to postpone a decision until the second meeting in February, or even the first meeting in March.
But, with the 60-day clock ticking, that March 4 meeting would be the deadline, Bailey adds.